Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment

Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment

Water photography: how to remove surface glare


Water Photography: remove surface glare the professional way

When they’re attractive and packed with colour, reflections can form an integral part of your watery landscape shots, but there are also conditions when all you get is an ugly sheen or glare covering the surface of the water.

In these situations it’s time to reach for a polarising filter, which will allow you to eliminate the reflections and see through the water to the objects below, or to enhance the colours of open water such as the sea.

Using a polariser takes a little practice, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll find that it’s one of the most useful filters for adding punch to your water shots.

Water photography without a polarising filter

Without a polariser

Filter basics
The effect of a polarising filter varies according to the orientation of the filter, so they come in a rotating mount.

With the filter attached to the front of your lens, look through the viewfinder or on the Live View screen and slowly rotate the filter.

As you turn the filter you will reach a point when the glare and reflections have disappeared.

Remember that a polariser will reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor by between one and two stops, so you may need to use a tripod to prevent camera shake.

How to use a polarising filter


How to use a polarising filter: step 1

1 Attach the filter
Most polarising filters are the round screw-in type, so you will need to attach this securely to the front of your lens. If there’s spray in the location you will be shooting it’s worth doing this somewhere sheltered to avoid getting spray on the lens or the filter.


How to use a polarising filter: step 2

2 Rotate the filter
Once you have framed your shot with the polariser attached to the lens, rotate the filter through a whole turn while you check the viewfinder or Live View screen. Stop turning when you find the point at which most of the glare disappears from the water.


How to use a polarising filter: step 3

3 Fine-tune the effect
Once you’ve found the best basic position for the filter, you may need to rotate it very slowly while looking through the viewfinder to get the exact effect that you’re after. Remember that the effect of the polariser may be different on separate areas of water.

PAGE 1: Water photography tips for freezing movement
PAGE 4: Blur movement like a pro for classic effect
PAGE 6: How to photograph reflections like a pro
PAGE 9: How to remove surface glare from your water photography
PAGE 10: Get creative with the fine details


ND Grad filters: what every photographer should know
6 top filters for landscape photography tested and rated
See the light like a pro: everything you were afraid to ask about natural light